This innovation takes customization to a mind-blowing level

Colas are youth drinks. All cola companies strive to keep their advertising and brand image youthful. But there's only that much that advertising can achieve in reinforcing the "youthfulness" of a brand. Today's youth are more demanding than any generation before: they want choice, they want personalisation, they want cool and snazzy stuff. Coca Cola's recent innovation: Coke Freestyle is one of the best examples of understanding exactly what their consumers want, and coming up with a mind blowing innovation that doesn't just meet, but exceeds their expectations!

We've all seen cola dispensing machines. They usually are able to dispense 4-6, some upto 8 different brands/flavours from a single machine. But that's old news. How about a single dispenser that can dispense 146 brands/flavours? And many more, if the company can come up with more variants!

Coca Cola has several drink brands - Coke, Fanta, Sprite, Minute Maid, Dasani etc, each of which have different flavours and variants. Coke itself has 6 flavours, then you have Diet Coke with its 6 flavours, then decaf Coke with its 6 flavours and so on.


The Coke Freestyle dispenser has been engineered to allow a customer to tap through an engaging digital display and choose exactly which flavour she wants. The technology used to create and dispense the drink is somewhat similar to a laser jet printer - which mixes the right colours in the right proportions from cartridges to create a printout with the right colours and text. So, what happens is when a consumer taps in her desired brand and flavour, the dispenser actually creates the drink mixing the right ingredients, and serves it absolutely fresh.

imgbd If you thought that's cool, wait - there's more. And this is where things get really cool. What if you want to mix 70% Sprite and 30% Fanta to create your own unique drink? Go ahead - Coke Freestyle will serve you your very own personalized drink with any combo of any of the 146 flavours the company has created. Want to mix 20% Coke Raspberry with 30% Fanta Lime and 50% Sprite Peach? Go right ahead! Make your own drink!

What if you experimented with different combos and hit upon a really cool flavour which you want to save and share with friends? Coke Freestyle has a mobile app that lets you save your favourite combo, give it a name and share it with your friends. The next time you stand in front of a Coke Freestyle dispenser, tap into the app, scan and your personalised drink's unique recipe is transmitted to the dispenser, which then serves you your very own heady cocktail! How's that for cool, personalised convenience?

Adaptation for MF distributors

There are many fund distribution platforms that are developing engaging web and mobile applications to attract the youth towards mutual funds. Some are online only models, others create platforms for their channel partners to leverage through a judicious mix of high touch and hi-tech. Here's a thought for such IT enabled platforms.

The two most popular investments among young savers are SIPs and ELSS. Let's see how we can imbibe some learning from the Coke Freestyle way. What if you were to allow clients to perform simulations on performance charts with a combination of different funds until they get their perfect mix for their monthly SIPs? What if you were to give them different options within diversified equity, large cap, mid cap, balanced and so on, and let them make their cocktail that has delivered in the past their desired level of risk adjusted returns? Once they freeze their ideal mix, let them save it and give it a name.

Rajesh's SIP cocktail which he can brand whichever way he wants, for a total SIP amount of Rs.10,000 per month could include 20% in XYZ Large Cap Fund, 30% in ABC Mid Cap Fund and 50% in PQR Dynamic Asset Allocation Fund. Allow him a facility to share his SIP cocktail with the back testing results within his group. Let his friends who may also be your clients, simply give you instructions to set up say a Rs.5,000 monthly SIP in Rajesh's own branded SIP cocktail. Let your application's backend decode it into instructions to be sent to individual fund houses. Let your front end however continue with ongoing reports with the chosen brand name for Rajesh's individualized SIP cocktail.

This is just an idea to get you thinking. There is a section of investors who love looking at performance charts and comparing fund performances. Use this insight, along with the fact that some might want to look real smart and cool within their group by coming up with their own fund cocktails after testing out different permutations of performance charts, and deliver your own version of a Coke Freestyle dispenser.


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